Staying back a grade

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Updated: 8/11/2003 11:11 pm Published: 8/11/2003 11:11 pm

There is much debate over the value of having children repeat a grade, when they haven't progressed as far as their peers. Years ago, schools tended to pass children along. Now, there's a tendency for children to be retained, even in first grade. If a teacher suggests that your child isn't ready to move on, you'll want to gather more information. Arrange a meeting; just remember to keep it relaxed and friendly. Putting the teacher on the defensive won't solve anything. Find out how the next year might be different, if the child were to stay back; you don't want them simply repeating the same material. In some cases, the child might find a better personality match in another teacher's class. Or perhaps tutoring and summer classes could help them catch up. You may want to get an outside opinion from a school psychologist in your area. And don't forget to ask your child what he or she wants to do; their opinion should be a major factor in your decision. Finally, consider the long-term effects of keeping a child back. What will happen later, when they're bigger or more mature than others in their class? This tends to be more disturbing for girls than for boys, who value the advantages in strength and size.

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